Most of us here at Aloft make the most of the amazing coastline we have on our doorstep and summer evenings will often find us heading down for a BBQ on the beach. But there are some key top tips we recommend before heading down to the beach.
Check the Forecasts
Remember to check the weather. A clear, dry evening with light winds is perfect for enjoying the beautiful sunsets and nights skies. But pack a waterproof as our South West weather is notoriously changeable, but a little bit of mizzle shouldn’t dampen your spirits. And check the tide. Nobody wants a rogue wave putting out their BBQ.
This is a great site for checking the tides https://www.tidetimes.org.uk/
Find Your Spot
In the South Hams all council run beaches allow people to BBQ responsibly so North Sands and South Sands in Salcombe are safe choices, as are Slapton and Beesands. They are specifically prohibited at some beaches such as Lannacombe and the beaches of East Portlemouth, so it is always best to check. Similarly, you are able to BBQ at council run beaches in Cornwall. You are spoilt for choice in Padstow where it is said there are seven beaches for seven days.
Once you’ve picked the beach, set up a sheltered spot for your BBQ. Use rocks to shelter your BBQ or set up wind breaks to keep the gusts out. Don’t BBQ on grass. The heat can kill it back and leave unsightly scars. The sand will suck heat out of a BBQ, so if possible raise your BBQ up in the air, or wrap some foil around the bottom.
Once you’ve put the coals in and lit it, let the BBQ pre-heat for at least 15 minutes until the coals have turned white and it’s giving off a steady heat before you add the meats. Cooking with a flame leads to burnt outsides and upset stomachs.
Food & Drink
We are blessed with a some great local food and drink producers here in the South West. These are just a few of our favourites. P W & J Coleman have been Salcombe’s traditional butcher since 1981 and during the summer months has your BBQ covered. Fish is a great option too as it tends to cook quicker than meat. Rick Stein’s Fishmongers in Padstow has a great selection of fresh fish and shellfish. Pack a few bottles from Salcombe Brewery or the Padstow Brewing Company. If Gin is your thing then take a walk down Island Street where you’ll find Salcombe Gin Distillery and pick up a bottle of their award winning gins. For those of us who like a clear head so we can make the most of every day of sunshine by the sea the Pentire Drinks have great botanicals for the perfect P & T.
Have your Grab Bag
Many beach BBQs have come unstuck because an essential bit of kit was left behind. Have your bag always prepared and you can make the post of any sunny evening at short notice. Here is our kit list.
Portable BBQ. Check out this article in Coast Magazine for some recommendations. Keep some charcoal and firelighters packed inside ready to go. They also make for great firepits after your done cooking which means you can enjoy the beach later in to the evening.
Lighter / Matches in a water tight container. Lighters go rusty. Matches go soggy.
Picnic Blanket / Rug. It’ll keep the sand out of your food and keep you warm as the sun goes down.
Plates, Cups, Knives & Forks. Either have a supply of paper plates and cups and some wooden disposable cutlery or use your favourite picnic things and get in to the habit of putting them straight back in the grab bag once they’ve been washed up. And don’t forget tongs, knife and tinfoil.
Kitchen Roll & Bin Bags. BBQs are messy. Too often we see rubbish and ash left behind from others enjoying their sausages down at the beach so make sure you have plenty of bags to take all your recycling and waste away with you.
Collapsable Bucket. A game changer. They can be used for carrying cold beers down and dirty dishes back up. And you will always be able to carry seawater to help the ash and coals cool down when you are done so you can take it away with your rubbish.
Favourite Sauce. We all have our favourite, whether it’s red, brown or something fancy.
And last, but the most important message we can give, is ensure you take eveything home with you. Don't bury a disposable BBQ in the sand, or leave it on the beach, or even put it hot in a bin to smolder for hours. Our beaches are here to be enjoyed by everyone and its everyone's responsibility to leave the space as they found it.
We hope there are some useful tips here for you and maybe see you at the beach. Tag us in @aloftco with your beach BBQ pics.